Welcome to a brand new collaborative series on my blog: Through The Eyes Of A Local! This is a great opportunity to hear from the locals on what we should see in their hometown, why we should visit and their local culture.
Up first, we have Megan from MeganStarr.com telling us all about her hometown of Frankfurt in Germany…
1. Could you tell us a little about yourself and where you come from?
I’m Megan, an American travel blogger and digital marketer from Virginia. However, I’ve been living in Frankfurt, Germany for the last few years (when Schengen allows me to!) and I lived in Germany as a kid for a while. It truly is my adopted home.
2. How long have you lived in Frankfurt? And what brought you here?
This time around, I have lived in Germany since 2014. A mix of things brought me to Frankfurt, but at the end of the day, I am still around because my partner lives there (although he is British).
3. Tell us why you’d recommend travellers visit your hometown. What do you love most about where you live?
I would highly recommend Frankfurt to travelers because it is home to one of Europe’s busiest airports and it is a convenient hub for exploring Europe. People write off Frankfurt before even going there as it is a banking city (aptly nicknamed ‘Bankfurt’). But I think if you look in the right places… culture can most definitely be found! Also, Frankfurt has such cool food and festival traditions. It is worth a visit just for that!
4. Is there anything that frustrates or annoys you when tourists visit Frankfurt?
Most definitely – people don’t think it looks ‘German’ enough. Because apparently every city in Germany should look exactly the same. What I commonly find is that most Americans love Frankfurt when traveling there because they are in Germany (Americans love Germany and all things German).
I find most Europeans dislike it because it doesn’t have the ‘charm’ they were expecting that some other German cities have. The interesting thing is that the charm does exist, it just doesn’t hit you in the face when you arrive in the city. You have to seek it out.
Frankfurt was annihilated during WW2 and like many other places in Europe, had to be rebuilt quickly. Nowadays, the city is international and practical and has one of the best skylines in Europe. To sum that all up – don’t knock a city for what it’s not… appreciate it for what it is. If you do this, you will enjoy Frankfurt.
5. In your opinion, which places in Frankfurt should be at the top of any visitor’s wishlist?
My favorite place in Frankfurt actually is an area called Höchst. This district is home to my favorite piece of Frankfurt architecture called the Bolongaropalast. It is a baroque palace that dates back to 1774. I know many locals who didn’t even know this palace existed until I posted a photo of it one day!
Höchst is also home to my favorite piece of natural space in Frankfurt. The Schwanheimer Dunes are a nature reserve that actually houses some of the most unique nature in Germany. The flora and fauna seen here are not seen in other places in the country and it is incredible. Another place most locals don’t know about (but the nature lovers definitely do!) And shhhh… don’t let anyone know I told you this, but the old town in Höchst is far less touristy but more charming than Römer in the city center. (Oops, sorry Megan! I couldn’t resist sharing this with my followers!)
A few other favorites of mine are the Saturday markets of Markt im Hof (Sachsenhausen) and the Konstablerwache weekend market. It is actually my absolute favorite thing to do on a Saturday morning in the city.
6. What foods must visitors eat whilst they’re visiting?
Interestingly enough, I think that visitors should try the local fare the first night or two, and then venture off for something more international. Frankfurt is one of the world’s most international cities – you can find really good ramen, Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Tibetan, Peruvian… the list goes on. Basically, we have some good food in Frankfurt.
Be sure not to miss out on Frankfurt’s café scene! If you’re into specialty coffee, head to Hoppenworth, Ploch or Holy Cross Brewing Society for some of the city’s best.
Also, be sure to stop at Vif Westend for a conscious and delicious lunch at one of the city’s cutest and friendliest cafes located in the Westend.
Frankfurt is known for its Apfelwein (apple wine) or as many locals refer to it, Ebbelwoi. There is even a tram called the Ebbelwoi Express that rolls around Frankfurt that you can board and see the city from while drinking the stuff!
They are also known for their Grüne Soße, or green sauce, which is served to the side of local dishes. It is a buttermilk and sour cream based sauce mixed with local, seasonal herbs such as sorrel and watercress. I, personally, am not a fan. But I do love some handkäse, which is a soured farmer’s cheese that is served in vinegar with bread (I prefer mine ‘mit musik’, or with onions).
The best place to eat local with the locals is Apfelwein Solzer. Many people suggest tourists head to Sachsenhausen as the schnitzel and apfelwein places there are aplenty, but don’t bother. Bornheim’s Apfelwein Solzer is where it’s at. And you’ll be amongst the locals there, not packed in with drunken tourists.
7. What’s your favourite word in German? Why? What does it mean?
The word for jewelry is ‘schmuck’. I think that is my all time favorite because I get to senselessly say it over and over when I see the signs for jewelry shops.
8. What advice would you give to somebody moving to Germany from another country?
Be patient. And bring many, many pens. They will run out of ink when you’re filling out the countless immigration forms (German bureaucracy is actually no joke). Find your circle of people and find it fast… it’ll help you adjust and have a support system.
9. If you could describe your hometown in just one sentence, what would you say?
It’s okay to leave the airport on that layover – we don’t bite!
10. If tourists were to know one thing about the German culture, what should that be?
Germans aren’t always punctual. They have a train company called Deutsche Bahn that operates with a daily mission to defy that stereotype. Germans are also allergic to credit cards and air conditioning. But they don’t mind the nude… so plan accordingly.
Thanks Megan – we’ve loved getting to know you and Frankfurt better!
If you’d like to learn more about Frankfurt or the rest of Megan’s travels, then you can hop along to her travel blog: Megan Starr, or follow her on Twitter and Facebook. She also has an awesome craft beer guide for Frankfurt that’s an absolute must-read!
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We’ll be hearing from lots more locals soon. Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss the next interviews!